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How to Be More Approachable as an HR Manager

Posted by Huy Tran on Jun 25, 2014 1:17:00 PM

It’s no secret that human resources department personnel get a bad rap. After all, they’re the ones who have the unenviable position to administer terminations or downsizing, tell employees they are going to lose health insurance or other perks, and enforce trainings that workers might think are a waste of time. It can be a thankless job, but that doesn’t mean that every HR manager needs to assume a defensive attitude. In fact, it’s quite beneficial for those in human resources supervisory positions to learn techniques to improve their approachability.

1.Open Door Policies Promote Trust    
One of the first ways an HR manager can improve his or her standing is to have an “open door” policy. This means that anyone in the organization can feel free to drop by and honestly be heard. While it doesn’t mean the HR manager can or should react to any problems, it does mean that he or she will be open to giving advice. One caveat: open door policies only work if they are genuine.

2. Badmouthing Colleagues Can’t Be an Option BLOG   INTERVIEW WITH DEIRIC
It can be terribly tempting to engage in gossip, but any supervisor who doesn’t want to lose credibility should refrain from badmouthing the company’s employees, including those who are no longer around.  HR managers don’t have to be the “law enforcement” when other people talk about rumors, but he or she should never engage in this kind of idle chatter.

3. Learn to Smile More
Smiling is one of those traits that makes a person seem more trustworthy. The HR manager who scowls all the time, or who has no apparent sense of humor, will not appear to be approachable. Of course, for some people, grinning on a regular basis is a learned behavior. Fortunately, it’s never too late to smile more!

4. Be Generous with Your Mentoring
Mentoring your staff can go a long way toward building bridges between other departments and human resources. No doubt you have a lot of skills that you can pass on; don’t be stingy with them. You can either mentor on an as-needed basis, or in a more formal capacity. A good side effect of this kind of self-directed coaching is that it will become a habit, and your mentee will eventually follow suit.

5. Try Not to Exhibit “Knee-Jerk” Reactions
Even if you have a natural tendency toward emotional responses to negative news, you have to temper yourself. No HR manager who is considered approachable is incapable of staying calm and cool under difficult circumstances. The more often you show your team that you can make decisions that aren’t knee-jerk, the better your chances of having people come to you before problems escalate, because they’ll know you won’t overreact.

6. Educate Yourself in All Areas of Your CompanyCommunication
Sometimes, people feel like HR managers are cocooned in their offices. Get out and walk around occasionally. This is very important regardless of whether you oversee the HR department of a construction company or a web development firm, as it will help you be more effective as a supervisor. You’ll get to know what’s happening, and you’ll become more acquainted with the people working around you. 

7. Learn the Art of Empathy
Occasionally, employees complain because they feel that HR managers simply aren’t able to empathize with their situations. If you have trouble showing sensitivity toward colleagues, you can always take courses on ways to better understand what others are saying and feeling. Although you may not be able to take away their points of concern, you can at least present yourself to them in a manner that makes them feel heard.

8. Be Fair to Everyone
In human resources, fair and equitable treatment of all employees is a mandate. Make sure all employees know their rights as a member of the company. One way you can do this is by offering a public resource of you company’s safety regulations and freebie offers. (Empire CAT does this well.) By making sure everyone knows the rules and opportunities available to them, you’ll be known as a fair manager, and colleagues will respect you for your unbiased handling of situations.
If you work on being more approachable on a regular basis, it will become second nature. Over time, you’ll become an even more effective manager, and your employees will respond favorably to your efforts.

Guest Blog by Kayla Matthews - a business solutions blogger with a passion for productivity and self-improvement tips. Learn more about her on Google+ and Twitter, or follow her productivity blog ProductivityTheory.com.

Source: Profiles International

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Topics: hire, Human resource, promote trust, effective hr manager

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